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New York Times Announces New Pay Plan

This morning the New York Times announced that, beginning in early 2011, it will begin to charge for content. Frequent users of the Web site will have to pay for access after a certain number of free articles, still to be determined. Those who subscribe to the newspaper will have unlimited access.

Why the long wait? They want to build a system of their own that monitors and charges for use, and basically figure out how to minimize any adverse impact on advertising and circulation. As the most-read online newspaper, the Times has much to lose as well as to gain.

The wider implications in making a stand for content is their attempt to cultivate a readership interested in quality and not just quantity, a step that others will now begin to imitate. And my sense is that in the world of photography as well, as so many flounder around with great ideas without knowing how to pay for interesting content, many more will now be emboldened to come up with various kinds of pay models so that the work we have long admired can, in both old and new forms, flourish.

Obviously these are small but necessary steps in the right direction, that will hopefully allow and encourage us to see more of what is going on in an increasingly complex and chaotic world, with enormous areas of it receiving little attention except in moments of disaster, such as Haiti right now.


  1. hasi wrote:

    Unfortunately a paying for reportage will just encourage the NYT to pander to the news that fits the lowest common denominator of readership. The funds provided by charging for readership may provide resources to allow the NYT to continue and/or expand it’s reporting capabilities, but the NYT like any other commercial venture will go where the money is. So if readers want garbage and are willing to pay for it, that’s what the NYT will provide in an effort to keep from losing readers to other lousy newspapers.

    Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 9:17 am | Permalink
  2. fredritchin wrote:

    Could it also work the other way - that if readers want quality the New York Times will provide it?

    Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 11:03 am | Permalink
  3. Gilles wrote:

    I’m glad to see that the NYT is, finally, returning to a paid online service. This crazy idea that content on the net should be free has gone on so long now that too many people assume it as a right. Excellent reportage requires professionals, not so called “citizen-reporters” and editors and so forth. p.s. perhaps you could add an email link as well so non-topic messages could be sent to you. Book marked the blog, look forward to more.

    Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

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